Let's not forget those who have died from other diseases/accidents, etc. whose lives were lost because the ICU beds were all occupied by the un-vaxxers.

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This is the most cogent analysis I have read yet of the anti-vaxxers. Yes, one of the greatest benefits of living and working in the US is the wide and spacious freedom to express yourself, and to choose a lifestyle that works for you, the individual. But, as Kareem so eloquently states, not at the expense of other people's well being. I tried to sum this up in a restaurant recently when an irate customer went into a rant because a server was insisting he wear a mask. I heard the words "freedom" and "my right" yelled multiple times before I intervened and offered a simple, "you can kill yourself, but you can't kill me. Wear the mask or just go home and stay there." Ultimately, I think this situation may be that simple.

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People refuse to acknowledge the role they play in ending this and refuse to look past their own nose to see the damage it’s caused (in lives lost and lives worsened). Thanks for using your platform to, respectfully, let the record show that Lebron and co are (once again) on the wrong side and putting lives at risk.

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Thank you Kareem . You have most likely made an impact on some doubters out there somewhere in the ozone. Listen up all of you!! Kareem is wise, thoughtful, kind & absolutely correct. Now it's your turn to bare your arms and get vaccinated. Do it for the common good. Today!;

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As a child of the 50’s I couldn’t disagree more with S Hamilton. The mandatory vaccinations we received at school helped to eliminate some very serious diseases. Anti-vaccination hysteria hasn’t cured anything. In fact it has aided in the resurgence of disease that was all but eliminated from our society. As for your litigation issues, challenge the stances on corporate responsibility where it should be challenged, in court. As I’ve stood in line with others of my age group to get our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Covid shots; we all ask the same question. If mass vaccination was so wrong, and bad, for us; why weren’t there huge numbers of our friends that got sick? They didn’t!

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Sent communication below to the NBA Players Union email, and the Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks general emails.

The only superstar player who seems to have gotten it right on media day to me is Steph Curry. He comes down on the side of knowledge and education not supporting the self-centered hesitant 10% just for the sake of not being the odd one out. Thanks to Steph Curry.

As a former labor negotiator, it's really sad to see the union using strong arm tactics for the wrong reason. It's akin to seeing the ravaging impact of the "no snitch" culture in communities that are being overrun by drug trafficking, gun violence, and gangs. What's worse is that they are defending their stance by spreading misinformation on platforms that are unique to their occupation. Totally disregarding the responsibility to be informed and not misleading when doing so.


Dear NBA Leaders,

Happen to be a fan of the 2020-2021 Champion Milwaukee Bucks, my home-town team.. GO BUCKS!!

What prompted me to write however is what is coming across to me as a missed opportunity for NBA player leadership on one of the most important public health issues in our life-time. Having grown up in a basketball family, and being a 60+ African American female I envy the platform you have to represent through knowledge and wisdom -- on local and national levels. Although I am not an overall can't miss a game super fan, I was compelled to comment to the Lakers after hearing LeBron James characterize the COVID vaccination decision as purely personal. Hoping that the star player for the Buck's would have not said the same at his media day, I was disappointed to read that it was pretty much the same as what James said. So, I have since sent what I hope is an enlightening email to the Lakers. Hope you will consider the merits and understand that it is not at all about shaming it is about educating, informing and saving, saving lives.

SEE BELOW Corrected Copy

Dear Lakers Organization,

This message is directed to your leadership on and off the court regarding COVID-19 vaccinations within the NBA.

At pivotal points in our history, socially conscious players/athletes and organizations have notably pushed back against the notion that athletes should “just play the game”. Yet it seems that on one of the greatest issues facing our country and the world, a recently outspoken leader of the Lakers’ has taken a rather muted and troubling stance, along with apparently other leaders in the NBA.

In announcing that he had (perhaps just recently) been vaccinated after “doing his research” – choosing to do what was best for his family/friends and declaring it was “not his job” to persuade any other players, really served to undermine the serious efforts to save lives.

Many vaccine hesitant people are claiming to be doing “research” on the vaccine, when in fact they are not qualified medical professionals/scientist and in truth they are being misled by dangerous sources of misinformation. It would have been more accurate to state that the CDC and the World Health Organization are the most reliable sources of information about the vaccine and protections against hospitalization due to COVID-19. But instead, Mr. James' assertion of having done “his research” only amplifies the idea that we can all go our own way, when in truth we are still in this together. And it matters what we say about the vaccine in front of cameras and off camera given our climate of vaccine hesitancy and misinformation.

While we don’t know what concerns were perhaps giving Mr. James pause relative to not getting vaccinated sooner, the compelling truth is that the vaccine is doing what it is expected to do – just like most vaccines; saving lives, protecting against hospitalizations, reducing spread of the virus and variants. Notwithstanding the generally mild potential side-effects, that at this point unlike incidents of COVID-19 and post-COVID-19, are considered largely treatable and not life threatening in the unique way that COVID-19 and COVID-19 variants are.

After stating his decision to vaccinate was based on “his research” Mr. James invites everyone else to do what they feel is right for themselves. If he used a reliable source of information to make his decision, why would he otherwise urge others to make a decision this important on the basis of their feelings (code for fear and misinformation) versus a reliable source of information. Why would that approach be important not just for him, but for his “ family and friends” as well, but not everyone else hearing him? Because it absolutely and necessarily is!! This is not about deciding which college to attend, where to vacation, your faith, whether to play football vs basketball, Coke vs Pepsi. This is about being engaged as a citizen in helping to save lives and turn the tide on one of the biggest public health threats in our lifetime and world history.

Mr. James very mistakenly asserts that getting vaccinated is purely personal and therefore not something he feels moved to speak on like racism, police brutality or politics. But what he misses is that in America and quite frankly, in the world health care knowledge and access is entirely political. What is not political about the vaccine is the science. The hurdle that we are confronted with, rightly or wrongly, is that it has been politicized by a segment of ill-intended influencers who do not want to follow the science. So at the very least Mr. James should be more than comfortable encouraging more than just his family and friends to follow the science, make an informed decision based upon the most proven and established sources of reliable information on the vaccine – the CDC and the World Health Organization. Just as the fight for racial equality, judicial fairness, voting rights, police training and reform are both personal and communal concerns, so is our fortunate ability to now (and for the past several months) get vaccinated; thanks to the work that was being done in this area for the past several years.

We don’t necessarily need Mr. James to be a public spokesperson for the vaccine. I would settle with him exercising leadership within the NBA Players Association/Union. Agree to the vaccine as a condition of work or without challenging a potentially future mandate across all segments of the NBA. That would be real admirable leadership not preoccupied exuberance over a record setting championship run; but rather a demonstration of social consciousness that’s worthy of saying that what the players and the NBA stands for is more than just the game.

In the end we all have the potential to stand behind the science and save lives within our sphere of influence on large stages and small. And in the end history stands to be made in all segments of America, including amongst communities that are often challenged with health care knowledge and access, including for the elderly, school age children, infants, the unborn, the pregnant, the homeless, families, the disabled, and the hard to reach 20s to late 30s age group.

As a whole the NBA and the Players Association certainly has access to direct interface with the knowledgeable representatives from the CDC and WHO. Partner with them to move the needle and be part of making “Good Trouble” and saving lives.

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Conventionally speaking, Green’s attitude was/is difficult to hear, particularly with regard to the very reasons you laid out so well, and I am inspired by your response. Fundamentally speaking, we know from where hesitancy and distrust originate. Personally I only hope that Draymond could understand that that kind of mentality was given to him by the Oppressor.

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Kareem, I completely agree with you that this is a community rights versus individual rights case. We have built society based on ideas that limit personal choices for the benefit of society. While I like the car driving examples you use, a simpler example is arm swinging. I have the right to swing my arms about me until my hand slaps my neighbour; then my right stops. Non-vaccinated people can continue to live but they cannot continue to interact with anyone else.

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Well said, Mr. Jabbar. It needed to be said publicly and addressed to our stars who mean well, but whose publicized comments are uninformed. Thank you.

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There is a far more constructive solution to addressing the frustration you feel with Lebron. You can use this Substack platform to post a roundtable video discussion among you, Lebron, and at least two highly credentialed medical doctors with differing takes on vaccines. I do not understand why you would be willing to call into question either the empathy or intelligence of your fellow ball players but not use your platform to have a civilized, brotherly discussion airing all these concerns. Instead, you are going the CNN/MSNBC route: using whatever media power you have to condemn those who have a different viewpoint. I expect that lack of brotherly consideration and care from cable news executives, but I have far higher expectations of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Have a civilized, compassion-centered video panel discussion with you, LeBron, Dr. Harvey Risch of Yale Medical School, and any other doctor who holds your viewpoint on vaccines, and all love and grow together. Why is it that pro-vaccine doctors are so afraid to appear on television with their peers of the same professional rank who hold more nuanced views? Below is a link to an interview Naomi Wolf conducted with Dr. Harvey Risch of Yale.

But, before that link to a leading expert on the pandemic, I ask you to just sit with our brother in heaven, the late Donny Hathaway. Here is perhaps Donny Hathaway's greatest recording ever, a live version of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother." Stop treating Lebron, Jonathan Isaac, Bradley Beal and Andrew Wiggins as if they are heavy. They are your brothers Kareem, and they deserve to dialogue with you alongside credentialed scientists who don't tow the CNN line. That's how true brothers would treat each other.


Here is the link to Naomi Wolf's interview with Dr. Risch, and two other doctors:


I love you Kareem.

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Why are you always writing articles on players? You're connected enough. Give them a call and speak to them man to man instead of constantly chirping like a bird for attention and acting holier than thou. You've got plenty of skeletons in your closet that the internet hasn't forgotten about.

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I don’t believe he is wrong, it’s not his job to tell people what to inject in their bodies, just like it’s not the governments job to tell a woman what to do with their bodies. Kareem you off people should know us in the black community don’t trust the government from their Past Experiments on us. Riddle me this Kareem, why is it so important to get the shot if you still can get the virus and spread it? Because our government cares about our health right?, You really should be ashamed of yourself for knocking a fellow athlete ( a black one) at that, to push their agenda. You must have stock in the companies. What if people with health issues get the shot Only because their favorite ball player said to and their bodies have a bad reaction to it, now that’s on that players conscience. Mr. Jabar stop being a puppet for those people and stop knocking other black athletes for Respecting others choices and their bodies.

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Thank you Kareem for your very well reasoned article and for taking such a large leadership role in such an important issue. Your arguments are irrefutable -- that's not to say that anti-vaxxers won't respond with emotional nonsense.

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My only counter would be that Lebrun James has showed us previously that when it comes to “issues” that “fuck with his money” that he is like sand shifting beneath our feet—citizens of Hong Kong wanting democracy— he doesn’t want to “alienate” people is more what it seems like. I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised at hesitancy on James’ part. Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving are just more examples of rich people who have access to educated themselves yet refuse to do so (flat earth is a hell of a drug 😂)

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When did it become ok to bully someone to do anything they do not want to do? I took the jab and wholeheartedly respect anyone who chooses not to take it. As a medical professional who spent a career watching patients suffer from FDA approved drugs this entire situation is a shot in the dark. Those who take it, take it on faith those who do not verbalize the same faith. I can only speak to my decision making process. The fact is the drug companies have been absolved of all future problems which is a problem in and of itself and none of us know what is going to happen. One thing for sure is that the majority of people who are dying are unvaccinated therefore try to encourage others and stop being mean calling people trolls because they have a different opinion than yourself.

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Mr Abdul-Jabbar, I’m 100% positive that you believe you’re doing noble work here. I would caution you to take a second to actually speak to these men before being so quick to finger wag.

Research the VAERS records of people who have had terrible side effects after getting inoculated.

Research the elevated risk of Myocarditis in men 12-29 after getting vaccinated.

Learn what antibody dependent enhancement is and what it’s doing to bodies of those who have taken shots.

Dig deep into the history of mRNA vaccines-they have never been used until COVID-19. There are reasons for that. Those reasons are quite interesting.

All in all, I just wish you would look past your own perspective and the notion of “public health” to see that these young men and all vaccine hesitant and not merely being rebellious for rebellions sake. We have concerns that are legitimate.

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